The city of Sterling Heights and its partners are progressing with plans and options for how to develop the Lakeside Mall area for the future. Depicted here is Concept A.

The city of Sterling Heights and its partners are progressing with plans and options for how to develop the Lakeside Mall area for the future. Depicted here is Concept A.

Rendering provided by the city of Sterling Heights


New details about Lakeside concept ideas unveiled

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published October 9, 2018

Attendees of a Sept. 27 public forum at the Velocity Collaboration Center were able to browse through some ideas that could guide the course of the Lakeside Mall district’s future.

According to city officials, Lakeside Mall’s retail capacity occupies more than 1 million square feet. But due to retail trends and the effect of online shopping on brick-and-mortar stores, some malls nationwide have transitioned to add mixed uses to their domains, such as residential or office space.

While city officials say Lakeside is currently “viable,” they point to the closing of Sears as a sign of the times, and they want the district to remain prosperous for the next several decades.

Sterling Heights officials have partnered with civil engineering firm Wade Trim Associates and Archive DS — an urban design studio — to map out a strategy to redevelop the area. During the Sept. 27 forum, they showed two possible concept options.

Concept A would keep the Lakeside Mall building and would build additional homes and office or medical buildings in the surrounding area, as well as adding public spaces. Concept B would demolish the old Lakeside structure and put new buildings throughout the property.

While city officials say the two options aren’t exhaustive, they are meant to guide city administrators and the Sterling Heights City Council so they can adjust the zoning regulations to make such mixed-use setups feasible.

Sterling Heights Mayor Michael Taylor said the new planning stage follows a sustainability assessment of the area that happened years ago. He is excited about what he called an opportunity.

Taylor predicted that city administrators will take about three to six months to put together a planned unit development proposal that will set the stage for developers who want to move to that district.

In the meantime, he said, the city is waiting to hear from the mall ownership as well as from anchor stores like Macy’s, Lord & Taylor and JCPenney.

He said a couple of the biggest obstacles will be the cost, which he said will total hundreds of millions of dollars in development to flesh out the district. He also said the development is without precedent in Macomb County, and businesses will need to weigh the risk.

Taylor said the major obstacle will be getting the Lakeside ownership and the anchor stores on the same page, since their permission is required to make big changes. But he is optimistic.

“They all are partners in this,” he said. “Nothing can be done there without all of them buying in. … That’s a huge obstacle, but we think it’s something that we can overcome.”

The city’s senior economic adviser, Luke Bonner, said a mixed-use Lakeside district could offer unlimited potential.

“The urban design plan has benefit to the city, but also is a critical planning tool for future investors,” he said in a statement. “It provides a clear vision for the future of the district and highlights the potential for mixed-use development in this critical area.”

Jerry Weller, the general manager of Lakeside Mall, issued a statement on behalf of the property.

“As retail continues to evolve, Lakeside Mall is proactively working with the city of Sterling Heights to develop a public utilities district for the property,” he said. “So if the time comes for the form and function for the mall to change, we are well-positioned. For the foreseeable future, it is business as usual at Lakeside Mall.” 

Find out more about Sterling Heights by visiting www.sterling-heights.net or by calling (586) 446-2489. To reach Lakeside Mall, visit www.shop-lakesidemall.com.